CFP: Public Space: Text and Context (Morocco) (12/15/06; 3/15/07-3/16/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Mr larbi touaf
contact email: 

Mohamed I University, Oujda, Morocco
Faculty of Letters and Humanities
Identity and Difference studies group
Announce a conference on
Public Space: text and context

15-16 March 2007

Public Space: text and context

Call For Papers

 A public space is a place where anyone has a right to
come without being excluded because of economic,
social, ethnic conditions. One of the earliest
examples of public spaces is the Agora, where no fees
or paid tickets are required for entry, nor are the
entrants admitted based on background. In ancient
times, the agora was a public square where the
exchange of information occurred alongside the
exchange of goods. In the traditional sense, it is a
place where citizens interact. They find an
opportunity to hear one another and are provided a
public space for social action. Access to the public
sphere was thus essential to good citizenship without
which no effective democracy would be possible, for
citizenship entitles one to participate in public
affairs and decide the fate of the community, and it
presumes access to the public arena where these
political and social issues are discussed and
resolved. Philosophers and social scientists have
stressed the importance of the public space for modern
democratic societies and for the "education" of the
citizen, in Civil Society and the Political Public
Sphere Jürgen Habermas defines the public sphere as "a
network for communicating information and points of
view" which eventually transforms them into a public
However, history shows us that even though in theory
citizenship allows one to take part in the affairs of
the community, access to the public arena has always
been exclusive, i.e. certain classes; categories
(slaves, women) ethnicities etc… have always been
barred from the public sphere. Today, as the example
of the developing or emerging countries demonstrates,
good citizenship cannot be achieved without a certain
degree "human development". While the values of
democracy are slowly and not always surely making
their way into these societies, the public sphere is
still restricted to a certain educated class. In fact,
whole sections of the population find themselves
excluded from it because of poverty and most
importantly because of the lack of education, social,
and economic empowerment. The same situation could
also be observed in first world countries where
immigrants and certain ethnic minorities do not have
access to the public space.
The aim of this conference is to trigger a reflection
on topics related to public space or public sphere as
textuality and as praxis. We are particularly
interested in interdisciplinary papers that address
issues of public space in connection with literature,
the arts, social action, economic and social
empowerment, and all other forms that give a sense of
presence in society and in the world. Topics include,
but are not limited to, the following:

Public space and/in literature, the arts and
Minorities and (access to, or in/visibility in) public
Public space and the politics of social and economic
Public space and human development
Hyperspace as a public space
Art and performance in urban spaces
Public space in urban policies
Public space and civil society

Please send via email (no attachments) an abstract of
approximately 250 words and a short biography/Vita by
December 15th 2006, completed papers expected by
February 15th, 2006. Please note that the reading time
is limited to 20 minutes per paper (8-9 typed pages).
Selected papers will be considered for publication,
participants are therefore urged to conform their
articles to the guidelines of the Chicago
Documentation Style.

The Faculty of Letters offers accommodation for 2
nights and food to all participants. Air travel will
be at the participants' charge. A participation fee of
100 USD is required from international participants;
Moroccan Nationals are required to pay a fee of 300
A website for the conference will be available
Please send proposals to Dr Larbi Touaf or Dr Soumia
Boutkhil (Conference Chairs)

                    Larbi Touaf
  Department of English
  University Mohamed I Ojuda
  Po Box 457
  60000 Oujda, Morocco
  Phone: 212- (0) 5650 0604
  Fax: 212 - (0) 5650 0596

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Received on Fri Aug 04 2006 - 09:25:33 EDT